Benito Juarez is the international airport of Mexico City and will be the point of entry for those arriving by air. Luckily, the majority of the spotting locations are within walking distance of the terminal. However, be very careful indeed, do nat wander around alone and do not carry any expensive equipment visibly. If possible, take out a rental car and mingle with the Beetles. This needs some bravery as well, but this is the only way to get to all spots without hazarding your personal well being.
Mexico City is not only a major civil main port, it also houses the VIP flight of the Mexican air force, a transport squadron of the navy as well as sizeable fleets of the Mexican Federal and local police and the Procuraduria Federal (federal attorney's office). Along with both operational and derelict airliners, it offers a little bit of everything for everyone. The biz jets are stationed at Toluca nowadays.
Mexico City international airport is a beehive of activity. Recently, a second terminal was constructed and the accompanying multi storey car park and adjacent entrance roads have pretty much eliminated all but a few viewing possibilities. The north side houses the civil terminal whereas the south side has the Navy, PGR and some general and domestic aviation.
For people staying downtown, Mexico City Metro line 5 will take you straight here. Use Metro stop 'Terminal Aerea'. Note that metro stop 'Boulevard Puerto Aereo' (on line 1) is on that boulevard; not on the terminal end though, but miles away from the terminal! For the Airport terminal 1, also use metro stop 'Terminal Aerea', and make sure you use the correct exit.
Around the Airport
1Pedestrian bridge at domestic terminal
Right next to the domestic terminal there is a pedestrian bridge. This used to be an okay spot, but recent building activities have rendered this spot useless for photography. Some numbers can still be made with some effort though.
2Hotel Aeropuerto & Ramada hotel
There used to be only the Hotel Aeropuerto with the road and wall between you and the airport. Nowadays, a new hotel has emerged next to it, the Ramada. The latter as green coated windows. So you now have two options for a hotel overlooking the thresholds. However, with the new southern terminal, a train bridge connecting the old and new terminal now blocks most of the view.
3Pedestrian bridge at McDonalds
Continuing past the first pedestrian bridge you will find another one near the McDonalds. This spot gives an excellent view of the runway 05 threshold and the aircraft taxi right past you giving good photographic opportunities. However, this side of the airport has been reconstructed somewhat lately.
Blast deflectors, a new terminal building and entrance has rendered the old spots along the fence useless. So this bridge is basically the only viable option to take photographs from the west side.
4Camino Real hotel and car park
Taking the elevator and pedestrian bridge towards the Camino Real hotel, from the terminal building will lead you either to the hotel itself or its parking garage. On the top floor of the garage you have a good view of the small air force ramp and hangar. This hangar is infamous because each Saturday they tow all aircraft out in the very early morning and swap the floor of the hangar. A more comfortable view of this spectacle can be had from one of the top floor air side rooms of the Camino Real hotel itself. Apart from an early start you will need to fork over more than US$100 for the latter option... Moreover, the hotel does not exactly live up to this price.
With regards to the garage beware, you will be moved on very quickly by security personnel here so no long stays are possible anymore.
5Military ramp & Helipuerto de Condores
If you like walking or take out a rental car you can explore more of the south east side of Benito Juarez. After passing the threshold you can turn left (north) in the direction of the many buildings on this side of the airport. Simply follow the signposts to Terminal 2. Under pass the fly-over. After that you have to take a left. The entrance is a bit obscure, it is just after the Pemex petrol station at the T2 u-turn sign. You will drive towards the white arches of the presidential flight gate. You can see the military apron here, heavily guarded but a quick stop and u-turn might yield some aircraft parked here (no stopping or parking allowed). The area itself, past the gate, is walled off. A C-47 is pole mounted. Opposite the air force ramp, on the other side of the road, there is a small hangar and helipad named 'Condores' of the local police. Usually, some of their Ecureuils are parked outside.
The Aeromar terminal is no longer. Instead, Aeromar uses buses to ferry passengers from T2 to the aircraft. Terminal 2 itself is a bit of a nightmare. The outside walls of the whole building do not have many windows, but lots of round holes instead. Go into the parking garage, drive up to the fift or sixth level and drive to the far left back. There you can look through the holes onto the air force ramp. If you have a small head you might be able to put it into the hole and look a bit north to see some of the navy aircraft.
7South east side
East of the PGR area and terminal 2, there are some more hangars and ramps. There is a service road behind along the backs of these hangars. Unfortunately, all these areas are walled af and have gates. By following this road, you will reach the eurocopter facility.
8North east side approach
From spot 7, leave the airfield area and go left at the signpost for Via Tapo. You should have the wall to your left and the park to your right. Several stored and derelict aircraft are behind the wall in this corner.
9North side ramps
From spot 8, continue counter-clockwise. The road bends sharp left around the perimeter wall. Immediately after the corner, there are some spots to park your car. Find a spot along the railway line. Ideal place for a hit-and-run robbery too... Luckily, most of the time runway 05 is in use.
In the northern corner of the airfield there is a small area where the Mexicana overhaul hangar was situated. Sometimes derelict aircraft are parked in front of it for a short or longer time. From the through road under passing the approach, you can see the aircraft just before the fence becomes a wall again and gets much higher. The road forks, keep left towards Oceania. Immediately after crossing the railway, you can see a gate to your left. This gate is a dense fence covered with green plastic. A peek through some gaps is possible though.
10Terminal & Hilton hotel
For arriving en departing passengers, the large windows of the main terminal face all traffic, and although security is everywhere, a lot of traffic taxiing past can be read without help of binoculars. No photography from here though, even a 'touristical' picture will get security officers pretty upset.
Another option in this area is the Hilton hotel situated on the third level of the international side of the terminal. The lobby provides some views but is not a place to loiter obviously. Better option is to get a room, 101 to 127 are good. You have to fumble a bit with the double glazed, tinted and stickered windows though... No good angle for the military ramp from here.
Spot 4 is near Metro 'Terminal Aerea' and gives nice opportunities (André Dupont).
This spot 3 picture shows exactly what Mexico is famous for: smoking bizjets! (André Dupont).
|121.000 / 121.850||Ground|
|118.100 / 118.700||Tower|
|Aereo Taxi Mexico||A109E,|
|Aero Frisco||AS350B3, Bell 407,|
|Aero Servicios Regio Montanas||Ce500, Ce650|
|Aero Union||A300 (cargo)|
|Duque Jet||Falcon 20F/50|
|Grupo Adelac||BAC 1-11, Ce550,|
|Heliservicio Campeche||Bell 206L3, Bell 407|
|MAS Air Cargo||B767-300F|
|MexicanaClick||B717, Fokker 100|
|Saint-Ex Cargo||Saab 340A (cargo)|
|Servicio Aereos del Centro||Bell 407, Bell 412EP,|
|Servicios Aereos Milenio||Bell 407, Falcon 20F,|
|Fuerza Aérea (AF)|
|UETAAM||B737-2B7, Beech 200, IAI201, L1329-8, S-70A-24A|
|CGTAP||B757-225EM, B737-33A, B737-112, G-III, Lj35A, Lj36A, RC695A, SA330J, AS332L1|
|Fuerza Aeronaval (NY)|
|ESCAEROTRANS||Lj25D, Lj31A, Lj60, Sabre60, DHC-8-Q202|
|Policía Federal Preventiva (PO)|
|PFP det. Colonia Federal||AS350B2, AS355N2, B727-264, EC120B, G-IISP, Mi-8MTV-1, RC690, RC695, SA330J|
|Procuraduría General de la República (GV)|
|PGR Colonia Federal||Beech 200, Beech 300LW, Bell 212, Bell 412HP, CeTU206, Ce421, Ce441, Ce550, Ce650, DHC-6-300, G-I, G-II, L1329-8, RC690, Sabre 40, Sabre 60, Sabre 75A, T-39N, UH-1H|
|(TP-0202)||C-47 (pole mounted without serial)|
|XA-DOD||DC-8-51, near spot 9|
|Mexican Air Arms||Orders of battle of all branches of the Mexican armed forces|
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